GI JOE Rise of Cobra: Sting Raider (TRU Exclusive) by Hasbro

During the tail end of the 25th Anniversary Collection, Hasbro re-released the classic Cobra Water Moccasin and renamed it the Sting Raider. The production and distribution on this toy were low and terrible and so if you managed to get one without getting raped on Ebay, you were very, very lucky. It was a real shame to bring back such a great old toy only to have it be so hard to get. As a consolation prize, Hasbro has brought it back once again, this time as a TRU Exclusive and with a completely new (ie. somewhat funky) paint job. Still, beggers can’t be choosers, so I grabbed this baby up as soon as I saw it.

I have no idea if this toy is supposed to be part of the Rise of Cobra or the Pursuit of Cobra. It says both on the box, but given the prominance of the RoC moniker and the style of the package, I’ll consider this one of those “expanded universe” type toys from the RoC movie line. Not that it matters either way. The box is amazingly small. In fact, it looks too small, like its some kind of optical illusion or something. Nonetheless, the mostly assembled boat is in there, along with two figures, Copperhead and Swamp Viper, and some accessories. All you need to do is attach the rear rudders, the gun on the turret, and apply the stickers. Yes! Stickers!! I love applying stickers!

The boat itself is a pretty simple toy, but its every bit as awesome as I remember it. Actually, I never owned this one as a kid, but every now and then my friend and I would swap a GI JOE vehicle or two for a week and I remember having a blast playing with this one for a short while. There’s not a whole lot of moving parts or features on it, but its a great looking little attack boat. The gun turret does turn and the guns elevate, the cockpit lifts off to get Copperhead inside, the rudders turn, the engine prop spins with the help of a thumb wheel, and there’s a detachable “torpedo” on the bottom. There are also two removable compartments that allow you to stow extra weapons and gear.

But with the good, it seems you have to take the bad. Or at least, the not so good. In the case of this Sting Raider, for most people that’s going to be the paint job. Its an odd green and red camo motif, which makes no sense from a tactical standpoint, but I have to admit makes for a rather striking looking craft. Its not my first choice for colors, and it may make fans still prefer paying out the ass on Ebay for the 25th Anni. release, but in this case, I’ll take it. There have certainly been some far more unfortunate color schemes in the world of JOE (*cough* Tiger Force *cough*).

The figures are a bit of a mixed bag. Copperhead is definitely cool, but not as cool as the version that came with the illusive 25th Anniversary toy. Its the same basic mold, but different paint apps. He has some curiously tight shoulder joints, but apart from that he’s a great figure. The Swamp Viper seems to be a cross between a HISS driver and Wild Weasel. I still dig him, despite his impossibly shaped helmet. Its also cool to note that both figures come with personalized display stands, rifles and combat knives that fit into the their sculpted sheathes.

This set retails at $19.99, which is a pretty great deal for what would be a considered a Bravo Class vehicle and two figures. Its even better when you consider how much the 25th Anni. Sting Raider would set you back. Yeah, you have to stomach a wild paint job, but honestly its grown on me to the point where I’m no longer tempted to go through the trouble of taking it apart and repainting it. Of course, it is a TRU exclusive, so finding it may be tough for some people, especially with how few TRU stores are left these days. If you can find it, I definitely recommend it.

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